On 7 January 2019, the department welcomed a visit by Dr Nazmul Karim, Professor and Head of the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering Texas A&M University, and Holder of the Michael O’Connor Chair II. We were delighted that Prof Karim (Naz) found some time in his busy schedule to visit the department, and we invited Naz to share some of his thoughts on “Excellence in Engineering Education – necessary ingredients: students, faculty, facilities, and resources – an optimization problem?”. Naz discussed ideas with our staff on the curriculum development for the chemical engineering degree, as it heads into a new world of transformative technological changes, and challenges, and it was a stimulating dialogue to say the least.
A major purpose of Naz’s visit was also to develop a Memorandum of Understanding between the departments and provide opportunities for staff and student exchange experiences, and research collaborations. At the faculty-level, Naz also met with Professor Partha Roop, our faculty’s Associate Dean (International), to discuss the possibility of new faculty-led programs for courses to be taught by visiting academics from each institute. Texas A&M is ranked 12th in the USA for its engineering, and recently the latest US News & World Report survey, “America’s Best Graduate Schools 2019” ranked the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering as the 21st best graduate chemical engineering program in the country overall. We are indeed honoured by Naz’s choice to include our department in their international plans for staff and student exchange programs.
The visit ended with dinner (see photo below), where our members of the department hosted Naz to a taste of New Zealand beef – in our attempts to convince the Texan that we have good steak! : )We wish Naz a great 2019 and look forward to developing some of the ideas discussed during the visit.